Monday, September 12, 2005

Awareness Rally in Mellon Square Park

The following blog entry is an email from Dave Carver, Pastor of the First United Presbyterian Church of Crafton Heights, Moderator of Pittsburgh Presbytery, and is reposted in full with his permission.

Dear friends of Africa:

September 9 was the anniversary of the day that the US Government determined that the Darfur region of Sudan was the site of the first genocide of the twenty-first century. Many of you are familiar with the horrible stories that have come out of the camps and the ways that the Janjaweed Militia, with the support (or at least indifference of) the Sudanese government, has killed hundreds of thousands of innocents.

Recently, there have been signs of peace. Small, but promising signs. There is cause for hope.

David Sarasohn, writing in the Oregonian, says that Americans are afflicted with "Africa Attention Deficit Disorder. (AADD)" From time to time, shocking images of famine in Niger or brutality in Darfur or AIDS patients in South Africa flood our consciousness. But mostly, we forget that Africa exists. Were we to pay attention, we might respond to crises as they develop, rather than after they explode. But, as Sarasohn says, "there's no footage in a famine forecast."
Will you raise your voice to help cure AADD? On October 6, millions of concerned citizens from around the world will be fasting and sharing the money they'd have spent with a relief organization targeting Darfur. On that same day, the Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition will sponsor a noontime rally in Mellon Square Park (downtown Pittsburgh). Local fasters will join government officials in reading a proclamation from City Council and delivering petitions to Sens. Specter and Santorum. There will be a percussion ensemble and a few remarks (the main "program" will run from about 12:30 - 1:00).

We need people to come downtown and raise their voices! Will you come - in African garb, if possible - to show the world that Africa is not forgotten?

News coverage of the fast will be broadcast into Eastern Chad and Sudan to encourage those who are still hanging on. You can make a difference. You can save a life.

"The real problem with our AADD," says Sarasohn, "is that the people who have it aren't the ones who suffer from it."

Read about the Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition at

Read about the national fast at

Read Sarasohn's column here

I hope that you'll make an effort to participate.


Dave Carver

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